All praise be to dogs

By Connie Orcutt • Published: November 1st, 2014
Category: Animal Airwaves

Whether you’re training your pooch or relying on a pro, you may wonder which method is the most effective — using praise or punishment.

The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior holds that punishment (for example, in the form of choke, pinch or electronic collars) should not be used as the method of first resort for any behavior problem. That’s because physical punishment can blunt a dog’s ability to learn, trigger aggression and fear-based behavior and cause injury. What’s more, punishment won’t show your dog the way he should behave.

Instead, the society recommends addressing the emotional and environment reasons behind your dog’s unacceptable conduct and encourages praise for positive behavior.

But remember — whenever you praise your dog for a deed well done, do it right away so he’ll connect the reward with the action.